A high-stakes lightweight bout will headline UFC fight night this coming weekend inside the UFC Apex Center in Las Vegas, as No. 7-ranked Rafael Dos Anjos (31-13) faces the No. 10-ranked contender Rafael Fiziev (11-1).
The winner will likely improve their UFC odds to get close to title contention.
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The former lightweight champion, Dos Anjos, will come in as the UFC betting underdog at +185, while the streaking Fiziev will be the favorite at -225. This match was initially scheduled for February, but Fiziev tested positive for COVID-19, which caused its cancellation.
Rafael Dos Anjos Recent Fight Results
Since losing the lightweight title to Eddie Alvarez and dropping a decision loss to Tony Ferguson in 2016, Dos Anjos has moved up to the welterweight division. He has appeared in eight matches, fought tough competition, and picked up wins over Tarec Saffiedine, Neil Magny, Robbie Lawler and Kevin Lee.
His welterweight setbacks came from the top athletes of the division and sustained decision losses courtesy of Colby Covington, Kamaru Usman, Leon Edwards and Michael Chiesa. After back-to-back defeats from Edwards and Chiesa, the Brazilian has decided to come back in the 155-pound division.
Dos Anjos made a triumphant return to the lightweight division by scoring a close split-decision victory over Paul Felder in November of 2020. His latest triumph came at the expense of Renato Moicano in their catchweight fight this past March as Moicano stepped in as a late-notice replacement opponent. Dos Anjos put up a masterful performance over Moicano en route to the unanimous decision win.
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Rafael Fiziev Recent Fight Results
Kyrgyzstan’s Fiziev currently rides a five-fight win streak, and he will be bringing this momentum against Dos Anjos. The 29-year-old knockout specialist may not have the perfect UFC debut as he suffered a first-round TKO loss to Magomed Mustafaev in April 2019, but after that, he went on a tear.
Fiziev picked up back-to-back decision victories against Alex White (October 2019) and Marc Diakiese (July 2020). He displayed his power with a knockout win over Renato Moicano in December 2020 to send shockwaves to everyone in the division. Eight months after that highlight-reel knockout, he collected another win over Bobby Green via unanimous decision.
‘’Ataman’’ is fresh off another memorable stoppage win by knocking out Brad Riddell with a spinning wheel kick which ended the match late in the third round.
Dos Anjos vs. Fiziev: Tale of the Tape and Fight Analysis
The physical attributes for this lightweight match between Dos Anjos and Fiziev are almost identical as both are standing at 5-foot-8, with only a one-inch edge for Fiziev with 71’’ against Dos Anjos’ 70’’. The Kyrgyz will also have the youth advantage against the Brazilian veteran with eight years of gap, but this can play an upper hand for him when counting on experience.
Stylistically, this will be another classic match between a grappler and a striker, with Dos Anjos being an accomplished Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt and Fiziev a feared Muay Thai striker. Being the more diverse striker between the two, Fiziev lands an average of 5.35 per minute (compared to Dos Anjos’ 3.62) and holds the more accurate blows with 52% (against Dos Anjos’ 46%). In addition, it reflects Fiziev’s knockout rate of 63%.
Meanwhile, Dos Anjos leads the grappling department with an average of 1.55 takedowns per 15 minutes (against Fiziev’s 0.48). Additionally, the former champion has a 0.6 submission average per 15 minutes which allowed him to win ten fights by way of submission, making him 32% finisher in this category.
With more momentum on his side, I predict that the much younger Rafael of the two will obtain another victory across his name. Fiziev’s power, speed and accuracy will be too much to handle for the aging Dos Anjos, who is well off of his best years.
Add the fact that the Kyrgyz star has an incredible 95% of takedown defense, Dos Anjos will have a long night on his hands.
Prediction: A late finish or a unanimous decision victory for Fiziev, on his way to a higher rank in the division.
See the full Dos Anjos vs. Fiziev fight card & odds here.
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